5th & 6th Avenue Road Diet
The foundation of the cycle track network in Downtown Calgary and the Beltline was the 5th and 6th Ave Road Diet proposed by the Tour de Nuit Society in 2010 . The project is a cost effective method of putting dedicated cycling infrastructure on the streets using existing municipal construction techniques for on-street bike routes.
Ideally suited for massive one way avenues, each lane is narrowed and the newfound space is aggregated to create enough space for a cycle track. Downtown SOV (single occupant vehicle) commuters will likely not notice any difference on their drives. A cycle track placed on the left side of the avenue will have no impact on the transit system because bus stops on the right-hand side will not be affected. A portable, concrete jersey barrier separates and protects the bicycle commuters from the main flow of traffic. No new construction is required nor is a new traffic signals system required.
How did a simple request in 2010 to install a temporary separated bike lane on several blocks of the two unsafest roads in downtown Calgary (when the road was being repaved anyway that spring) lead to a bitter public debate about a 'cycle track' network and cycle tracks appearing (and disappearing) around the city?
It seemed like a straight forward request at the time - wide roads, space for cycling and a measure of good will.
Calgary's cycling community recommended that the City initiate traffic studies of the feasibility of cycle tracks on 5th and 6th Ave south at the second of two community engagement sessions on October 29, 2011. The Society has been making the case in numerous forums over the last six years. A Road Diet is a cost efficient method for inserting a separated bike lanes without the need for eliminating a lane of traffic. Since the 1970s commuter cyclists have consistently identified east-west routes in Downtown Calgary as the ones that will have the most impact on improving safety. The cycling community engagement undertaken in 2011 was required under the terms of a Tour de Nuit/em>Society amending motion passed by Council on July 5, 2011 during the Cycling Strategy debate.